Hmmm… quite. I do see Spot run.
There are a number of ways you might make your study sessions more effective.
The first step is to make sure you are not studying in an environment that is easily distracting. Avoid study habits that might lead to casual distractions, like studying with the TV on. Even using your computer can lead to procrastination; it’s very easy to go from “Analytical Writing” to “American Idol” if you are using Google search. Essentially, you want to be comfortable, but not comfortable to the point of distraction. For example, if you’re studying at home you may find it more effective to study at the kitchen table than your bedroom.
Your choice of HOW to study can be just as important as your choice of where to study! After you have decided on an appropriate location to study, perhaps your university or local library, you should start focusing on what methods you will use to study. Everybody learns differently: some people are visual learners, others learn better verbally, and others find written repetition to be the most effective means of memorization. Some people learn best by incorporating various elements of all three styles. The important thing is to figure out what works best for you!
Flashcards have been helping people learn since the late 18th c.
If you are a visual learner, then you should try making flashcards; make a set of flashcards for each distinct topic in a specific subject and separate your various sets with rubberbands. This is a great long-term strategy for several reasons: not only will you have effectively prepared for your upcoming test, but by the night before the exam you will have a complete set of carefully crafted cards, separated by section and topic! The simple act of making the flashcards themselves is a great way to study, and when you’re done, you have great study materials to keep practicing with.
Even children know working together makes you better!
If you are a verbal learner, then you might want to consider organizing a study group (just make sure everyone you invite is as serious about studying as you are). A study group made up of the right people can be a powerful learning tool; a collaborative group of peers gives you the opportunity to both learn and teach. A college instructor of mine insistently advocated this approach, professing “You cannot truly understand a subject until you can explain it to another person!”
Repetition has long been held to be one of the most effective means of memorization. Can’t remember something? Write it down a thousand times in a row and you will! Though this method of learning is certainly effective, it is not necessarily efficient. This method is best used as a long-term approach rather than as a last minute effort to study before the GRE. The danger of studying this way is that you can spend hours and hours recopying notes or textbook passages, redrawing important diagrams and charts, and still only cover a fraction of the material you need to in order to perform well on an exam.
These study strategies employ a variety of different tactics and features, but they share one common theme: TIME MANAGEMENT! In order to successfully execute these strategies, and any other study strategy, you must carefully manage your time. You are going to have to commit in order to rise up to the challenge of the GRE; this means dedication and sacrifice. Carefully plan your day, week, and even semester in advance; establish a routine that works for you, and you will get the results you’re looking for.
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